Guide to insulation and R-values

 Guide to insulation and R-values

Insulation is one of the keys to a comfortable, energy-efficient home. It keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. When correctly installed with air sealing, each type of insulation can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year.
 
There are several common types of insulation.
  • Fiberglass (batt and blown forms)
  • Cellulose
  • Rigid foam board
  • Spray foam
Insulation performance is measured by R-value – its ability to resist heat flow. Higher R-values mean more insulating power. Different R-values are recommended for walls, attics, basements and crawlspaces, depending on your area of the country. Insulation works best when air is not moving through or around it. So it is very important to seal air leaks before installing insulation to ensure that you get the best performance from the insulation.
 
To get the biggest savings, the easiest place to add insulation is usually in the attic. A quick way to see if you need more insulation is to look across your uncovered attic floor. If your insulation is level with or below the attic floor joists, you probably need to add more insulation. The recommended insulation level for most attics is R-38 (or about 12–15 inches, depending on the insulation type). In the coldest climates, insulating up to R-49 is recommended. ​